Political parties in J-K welcome Prez’s speech

Srinagar: Political parties across the spectrum in Jammu and Kashmir today welcomed President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech, saying they were hopeful that steps will be initiated by the Centre and the state government to address the grievances of people of the state.

“It was a welcome speech. When a person no less than the President of the country admits that there are grievances, it indicates that the grievances of the people are genuine,” ruling National Conference spokesman Tanvir Sadiq told PTI.

Sadiq said an exercise needs to be carried out to build an opinion on how to address these grievances, which will lead to restoration of peace not only in Jammu and Kashmir but in the entire sub-continent.

Speaking at the 18th convocation of the Kashmir University, Mukherjee had said yesterday that, “Many important issues need deft handling and speedy resolution.”

Reaching out to people who have suffered decades of violence, Mukherjee had candidly acknowledged that they have grievances.

Sadiq said the “grievances of people of the state started cropping up as the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir was eroded and the accord between Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Jawahar Lal Nehru was violated. For us, restoration of autonomy and strengthening the special status of the state is the way to address these grievances”.

NC’s coalition partner Congress said Mukherjee’s speech was a direct and unambiguous message to youth of the state.

“It was a good, direct and unambiguous message from the President that youth of the state should participate in broader world of opportunities that India presents,” JKPCC chief Saifudin Soz said.

Soz said the President simultaneously said grievances of the people can be straightened through dialogue and “it is the duty of Government of India to respond to it positively”.

Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also welcomed the President’s speech but called for steps, both by the state and the Centre, that will give people a sense that the Indo-Pak dialogue process is aimed at resolution of Kashmir issue.

“It is a welcome declaration and we hope that its impact is felt on the ground, leading to end of repression against the youth of the state. The cases against youth on charges of stone-pelting, which run into thousands, should be withdrawn,” PDP spokesman Nayeem Akhtar said.

He said the President’s message should also reach the state government so that people can get some relief from the “oppressive measures in place”.

CPI(M) state secretary M Y Tarigami said the recognition of grievances by the President of the country calls for steps by the Centre and the state government to address these grievances through a dialogue process. “The focus of the president on the youth of the state is a recognition of the problems faced by them,” Tarigami said.

He said the President’s speech laid emphasis that youth of Jammu and Kashmir had an important role to play in restoration of peace in the region.